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Though he starred in his first movie when he was 17 years old, actor Thomas Jane spent several years - a few of them homeless - struggling to make it in Hollywood. Following small parts in films like "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (1992) and "The Crow: City of Angels" (1996), Jane had a breakout performance as a cocaine addict who helps two porn stars try to rob a freebasing drug dealer in Paul Thomas Anderson's "Boogie Nights" (1997). Though onscreen for only a few minutes, the actor was memorable enough for audiences to stand up and take notice. From there, he became a prominent face in several high-profile features, including "Deep Blue Sea" (1998) and "Under Suspicion" (2000), both of which helped turn him into a hot commodity. By the time he starred as "The Punisher" (2004), Jane was poised for superstardom, though the comic book-based action flick failed to live up to its hype, leaving his pending celebrity for another day. Nonetheless, he continued appearing in interesting projects - including as the star of the black comedy "Hung" (HBO, 2009-2011) - making Jane an actor always worthy of one's attention.Born on Jan. 19, 1969 in Baltimore, MD, Jane was raised the oldest of six children by his...
Though he starred in his first movie when he was 17 years old, actor Thomas Jane spent several years - a few of them homeless - struggling to make it in Hollywood. Following small parts in films like "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (1992) and "The Crow: City of Angels" (1996), Jane had a breakout performance as a cocaine addict who helps two porn stars try to rob a freebasing drug dealer in Paul Thomas Anderson's "Boogie Nights" (1997). Though onscreen for only a few minutes, the actor was memorable enough for audiences to stand up and take notice. From there, he became a prominent face in several high-profile features, including "Deep Blue Sea" (1998) and "Under Suspicion" (2000), both of which helped turn him into a hot commodity. By the time he starred as "The Punisher" (2004), Jane was poised for superstardom, though the comic book-based action flick failed to live up to its hype, leaving his pending celebrity for another day. Nonetheless, he continued appearing in interesting projects - including as the star of the black comedy "Hung" (HBO, 2009-2011) - making Jane an actor always worthy of one's attention.
Born on Jan. 19, 1969 in Baltimore, MD, Jane was raised the oldest of six children by his father, Michael, a biogenetic engineer, and his mother, Cynthia, an antiques dealer. When he was 17, Jane dropped out of Thomas Sprigg Wootton High School when two Indian producers discovered and cast him in "Padamati Sandhya Ragam" (1986), a "Romeo and Juliet"-inspired love story between an American boy (Jane) and Indian girl (Vijayashanti). Though he could have had a career in Bollywood, he instead moved back to the United States to pursue an acting career in Los Angeles. Once in Southern California, Jane struggled to the point of street performing for money, sleeping on park benches and eating meals at the Salvation Army. He gradually started landing roles with local theater companies and went on to found his own, The Space Theater. Eventually, Jane began landing roles in commercials and stage productions after his rough start, which eventually led to a small part in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (1992).
Other roles soon followed, including the barley seen futuristic action flick, "Nemesis" (1993), which was set in post-apocalyptic Los Angeles. Billed as Tom Elliott, he next starred in the independently-made road drama "At Ground Zero" (1996), playing a junkie who goes on the run with his girlfriend (Aysha Hauer, who was briefly Jane's real-life wife) after stealing his dealer's stash. Following a role in the forgettable sequel, "The Crow: City of Angels" (1996), Jane finally began to see his Hollywood stock rise with a breakthrough turn as a prisoner in the high-profile Nicolas Cage action flick, "Face/Off" (1997). He gained further notice as Beat Generation icon Neal Cassady in "The Last Time I Committed Suicide" (1997), which he followed with a memorable supporting role as a cocaine addict who concocts a plot to rob a drug dealer in "Boogie Nights" (1997). The following year, he took greater strides with his career as an ex-drug dealer whose past catches up with him in "Thursday" (1998), which featured a difficult-to-watch sequence in which he is raped by Paulina Porizkova's demented moll. He next was a gay man who falls in love with a bisexual porn star (Vincent D'Onofrio) in the triangular romantic comedy, "The Velocity of Gary (Not His Real Name)" (1998), after which he ended up on Terrence Malick's notorious cutting room floor, following his work on "The Thin Red Line" (1998). Little of his performance found its way into the final product.
Jane landed his first high profile studio lead as a shark wrangler in "Deep Blue Sea" (1999), which led to sudden appearances in magazines that touted him as the next big thing. While he demonstrated he could handle a romantic lead opposite Elisabeth Shue in "Molly" (1999), few bothered to check out the bittersweet drama at the multiplexes. After barely registering in a cameo as the young incarnation of Philip Baker Hall's game show host in "Magnolia" (1999), Jane delivered a nice turn as a hotheaded detective assisting the cool Morgan Freeman in a murder investigation in "Under Suspicion" (2000). The small screen actually provided the actor with one of his best roles to date, playing real-life New York Yankee baseball legend Mickey Mantle in "61*" (HBO, 2001). Though he had trouble learning how to play baseball - let alone doing it left-handed - Jane was nonetheless convincing as the famed legend who battled with Roger Maris (Barry Pepper) for the single-season home run record on the field, while privately struggling with alcoholism and chronic injuries. Jane's performance as The Mick earned him his first substantial critical acclaim.
Continuing his ascent to stardom, Jane next graced the big screen as part of a romantic triangle opposite Antonio Banderas and Angelina Jolie in the period thriller, "Original Sin" (2001). He followed up co-starring as the romantic interest of Cameron Diaz in the raunchy romantic comedy, "The Sweetest Thing" (2002). After an appearance in the dreadful Stephen King/Lawrence Kasdan collaboration "Dreamcatcher" (2003), Jane was cast in the role that seemed poised to define him as a major movie star, playing the lead in the comic book adaptation of "The Punisher" (2004). As former cop Frank Castle, whose family is obliterated before his eyes by a vengeful money launderer (John Travolta), Jane was the ultimate Extreme Superhero, toting a gun, a skull t-shirt and an anguished scowl. The actor went on a liquid diet and hardcore exercise regime - including training as a Navy SEAL - to prepare for the role. Played with both seriousness and intensity despite the material's campy trappings, Jane ultimately delivered a solid performance that proved better than the otherwise flimsy storyline deserved.
In "Stander" (2004), Jane was a former cop fed up with the corruption during Apartheid in South Africa, leading him to go on a bank robbing spree. He next co-starred alongside a motley crew of actors - Jaime King, Paul Reubens, Tommy Chong and Courteney Cox - in "The Tripper" (2007), a hybrid of horror and political satire about a group of hippies attending an outdoor music festival who find themselves targeted by a maniac obsessed with Ronald Reagan. He next starred in the adaptation of Stephen King's short story, "The Mist" (2007), playing a father who is trapped inside a grocery story with his young son (Nathan Gamble) and other terrified townspeople while an evil mist hiding deadly monsters engulfs the town. Jane ran into a bit of personal turmoil on St. Patrick's Day in 2008 when the California Highway Patrol pulled the actor over for speeding, and discovered that after several failed roadside sobriety tests and a breathalyzer, he had a blood alcohol level over .08%. He was sentenced to one year probation after pleading no contest to the charges. Then in January 2009, his second wife, actress Patricia Arquette, filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences.
Despite the personal troubles, Jane continued unabated with his career. He next co-starred in "The Mutant Chronicles" (2009), a sci-fi action thriller based on the role-playing board game about a 23rd-century soldier who must save humanity from an army of underworld necromutants, and "Killshot" (2009), adapted from the Elmore Leonard novel about a husband and wife hunted down by a pair of ruthless killers. In a rare turn to television, Jane was the star of his own show for the first time in his career, playing a down-and-out basketball coach and family man whose life becomes reinvigorated when he uses his best physical asset to become a prostitute in "Hung" (HBO, 2009-2011). Jane's performance earned the actor both critical kudos and several Golden Globe nominations for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy. Along with actors Rob Lowe and Jeremy Piven, Jane co-produced and starred in "I Melt with You" (2011), a psychological drama about four college friends whose yearly reunion collapses in a downward spiral of drugs, alcohol and self-loathing. While the small indie film was essentially overlooked in theaters, far more disappointing for both Jane and the show's devoted fans was the cancellation of the ratings-challenged "Hung" at the conclusion of its third season. More bad news came with the complete abandonment by Lionsgate Studio of the box-office dud "LOL" (2012), a coming-of-age drama Jane appeared in opposite Miley Cyrus and Demi Moore.
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CAST: (feature film)
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"... Action and horror can be dangerous for actors -- the audience has to be right with you. If for one moment the audience thinks the action isn't real, it all goes out the window. They are tough pictures to make, but when they work, they're great." --Thomas Jane quoted in Interview, August 1999.
"When I met with Tom [about appearing in "Deep Blue Sea"], I saw a 90s Steve McQueen. There's something mysterious and closed-in about him, but at the same time something incredibly charming and sexy." --director Renny Harlin quoted in Detour, August 1999.
On his gallery of eccentric roles and his own bout of homelessness, Jane told Premiere (September 1999): "Characters who walk on the other side are reminders that life is bumpy. As much as we try to follow the white lines, shit happens, and we can be thrown off into an embankment."
On why he became an actor: "I guess I couldn't hold down a normal job, and these people are the only people who consistently hire me." --Thomas Jane quoted in Empire, November 1999.
"I guess I'll be another ten-year overnight success." --Jane to Empire, November 1999.
"I've always known [acting] is what I'd do with my life, that I was exceptional at it. I have a great love for what I do and I'm continually getting better at it, and I'm going to be around for a long, long time. It's interesting to see the business, [how] the machine that surrounds the acting profession becomes aware of people as they come up." --Jane quoted in Los Angeles Times, January 3, 2000.
"I go over to him sometimes and say, 'You're going to be a big star; you'd better think about your image. What are you going to say to David Letterman? What are you going to say when you go on Jay Leno?'" --actress Sheree North, who co-starred in a 2000 stage production of "The Glass Menagerie" with Jane, quoted in Los Angeles Times, January 3, 2000.
"... That's the great thing about being an actor: getting a chance to live as other people, in so many different places. The traveling is so essential to the growth of a talent. It expands your worldview, and it deepens your understanding of the human condition."---Jane as quoted in Interview, August 2004.
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